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SETTLEMENT ON THE OHIO RIVER
DR. FRANKLIN'S ANSWER TO THE FOREGOING REPORT
From the foregoing detail of facts it is obvious
1. That the country southward of the Great Kenhawa, at least as far as the Cherokee River, originally belonged to the Shawanese.
2. That the Six Nations, in virtue of their conquest of the Shawanese, became the lawful proprietors of that country.
3. That the king, in consequence of the grant from the Six Nations, made to his Majesty at Fort Stanwix in 1768, is now vested with the undoubted right and property thereof.
4. That the Cherokees never resided nor hunted in that country, and have not any kind of right to it.
5. That the House of Burgesses of the colony of Virginia have, upon good grounds, asserted (such as properly arise from the nature of their stations and proximity to the Cherokee country) that the Cherokees had not any just pretensions to the territory southward of the Great Kenhawa.
And, lastly, that neither the Six Nations, the Shawanese, nor Delawares do now reside or hunt in that country.
From these considerations it is evident no possible injury can arise to his Majesty's service, to the Six Nations and their confederacy, or to the Cherokees, by permitting us to settle the whole of the lands comprehended within our contract with the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. If, however, there has been any treaty held with the Six Nations, since the cession made to his Majesty at Fort Stanwix, whereby the faith of the crown is pledged both to the Six Nations and the Cherokees, that no settlements should be made beyond the line marked on their Lordships' report; we say, if such an agreement has been made by the orders of government with these tribes (notwithstanding, as the Lords Commissioners have acknowledged, “the Six Nations had ceded the property in the lands to his Majesty"), we flatter ourselves that the objection of their Lordships in the second paragraph of their report will be entirely obviated, by a specific clause being inserted in the king's grant to us, expressly prohibiting us from settling any part of the same, until such time as we shall have first obtained his Majesty's allowance, and full consent of the Chero
kees, and the Six Nations and their confederates for that purpose.
III. In regard to the third paragraph of their Lordships' report, that it was the principle of the Board of Trade, after the treaty of Paris, “to confine the western extent of settlements to such a distance from the sea-coast, as that these settlements should lie within the reach of the trade and commerce of this kingdom,” etc., we shall not presume to controvert it; but it may be observed that the settlement of the country over the Alleghany Mountains, and on the Ohio, was not understood, either before the treaty of Paris, nor intended to be so considered by his Majesty's proclamation of October, 1763, “as without the reach of the trade and commerce of this kingdom,” etc.; for, in the year 1748, Mr. John Hanbury, and a number of other gentlemen, petitioned the king for a grant of five hundred thousand acres of land over the Alleghany Mountains, and on the river Ohio and its branches; and the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations were then pleased to report to the Lords committee of his Majesty's most honorable Privy Council, “That the settlement of the country lying to the westward of the great mountains, as it was the centre of the British dominions, would be for his Majesty's interest and the advantage and security of Virginia and the neighboring colonies.”
And on the 23d of February, 1748-9, the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations again reported to the Lords of the committee of the Privy Council, that they had “fully set forth the great
utility and advantage of extending our settlements beyond the great mountains (“which report has been approved of by your Lordships '); and as, by these new proposals, there is a great probability of having a much larger tract of the said country settled than under the former, we are of opinion that it will be greatly for his Majesty's service, and the welfare and security of Virginia, to comply with the prayer of the petition.'
And on the 16th of March, 1748-9, an instruction was sent to the governor of Virginia to grant five hundred thousand acres of land over the Alleghany Mountains to the aforesaid Mr. Hanbury and his partners (who are now part of the company of Mr. Walpole and his associates); and that instruction sets forth that “such settlements will be for our interest, and the advantage and security of our said colony, as well as the advantage of the neighboring ones; inasmuch as our loving subjects will be thereby enabled to cultivate a friendship, and carry on a more extensive commerce, with the nations of Indians inhabiting those parts; and such examples may likewise induce the neighboring colonies to turn their thoughts towards designs of the same nature.” Hence, we apprehend, it is evident that a former Board of Trade, at which the late Lord Halifax presided, was of opinion that settlements over the Alleghany Mountains were not against the king's interest, nor at such a distance from the sea-coast, as to be without “the reach of the trade and commerce of this kingdom,” nor where its authority or jurisdiction could not be exercised. But the report under